PGIMER Chandigarh became 2nd Collaborating Centre to work in public mental health with World Psychiatric Association in India
Taruni Gandhi, Chandigarh : After the 8 Collaborating Centres across the globe, India is the first country to have two collaborating centres with World Psychiatry Association to work on Public Mental Health. Prof. Debasish Basu, head of the department along with his faculty colleagues briefed the launch of its public mental health program in collaboration with the World Psychiatric Association (WPA). Prof. Afzal Javed of Pakistan, President WPA.
The World Psychiatric Association (WPA), which is the global association of 147 psychiatric societies across 121 countries, approved the Department of Psychiatry at PGIMER, Chandigarh, as one of its Collaborating Centres.
As of now, there are only 8 WPA Collaborating Centres in the world – in the UK, Egypt, South Africa, Hong Kong, Kenya, Qatar, Italy and India. Further, India is the only country in the world where the WPA has agreed to start two collaborating centres, the other one being in NIMHANS, Bengaluru. Hence this is a matter of great achievement as well as responsibility for the Department of Psychiatry at PGIMER, Chandigarh.
A WPA Collaborating Centre is an entity designated as part of an international collaborative network and committed to conducting activities that support the WPA mission, in particular its triennial Action Plan.
The WPA Collaborating Centres have a major role in enabling the advancement of mental health for countries in the region or worldwide. They provide support in developing, delivering, and sharing educational, research, and publications expertise and resources, and policy and practice developments in the field of psychiatry. The mission is to enable countries in the region to develop, strengthen, and offer continuing support to develop human resources for mental health at all levels.
The WPA, in its triennial Action Plan 2020-2023 (to be continued beyond this), has identified PUBLIC MENTAL HEALTH as one of the most important key areas of work. Our Centre has been assigned this specific task.
Adding further Dr. Basu said that the Public mental health (PMH) takes a population approach to mental health which includes assessment and strategic decisions to improve coverage, outcomes and coordination of different levels of mental disorder prevention and mental wellbeing promotion. It aims to sustainably improve population mental health through coordinated working with a range of public, third sector, other organizations, local communities, and individuals.
The mental disorder accounts for at least 20% of the global disease burden due to a combination of high prevalence, most lifetime mental disorders arising before adulthood, and a broad range of impacts across health, education, employment, social relationships, crime, and violence, and stigma. Poor mental well-being has a similarly broad range of impacts. Crises such as COVID-19 are likely to further increase the risk of mental disorder, relapse of mental disorder, and poor mental wellbeing.
Public mental health takes a population approach to sustainably reduce mental disorders and promote mental wellbeing through the provision of population-required levels of PMH interventions. Effective public mental health (PMH) interventions exist to treat the mental disorder, prevent associated impacts, prevent mental disorders from arising, and promote mental wellbeing.
However, only a minority of those with the mental disorder receive any treatment even in high-income countries, provision of interventions to prevent associated impacts is even less, and provision of interventions to prevent mental disorder or promote mental wellbeing is negligible. Thus, there is a huge PMH implementation gap.
This is where the Department of Psychiatry at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India, is to take a lead role, concluded Dr Basu.